Week 4 was headlined by Eastern Conference leaders visiting their Western counterparts. Toronto FC, Columbus, and Houston all went out West with perfect records through two games and hoped to come away unblemished.
For two of these teams that did not happen. Toronto, with all their new pieces, was run over by a Real Salt Lake team that has been playing together for years. Houston went into Vancouver with two home wins but couldn’t duplicate their performances against the Whitecaps strong attacking force.
However, Columbus was able to go into CenturyLink Field and come away with all three points. They were helped out by a red card but Justin Meram’s 94th-minute winner, off a heads-up play from an early MVP favorite in Federico Higuaín, gave them the result they wanted.
Who was able to separate themselves from the pack? Read on to find out.
GK: Dan Kennedy (Chivas USA) – Made two huge saves to preserve his team's lead, only undone by poor set piece marking.
D: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas) – Picked up an assist and was relentness and brave in general down FCD's right side.
D: Nat Borchers (Real Salt Lake) – Helped keep Jermain Defoe in check, the first time that has happened to the in-form striker, and was a threat on set pieces. An overall very impressive game from the center back.
D: Aaron Wheeler (Philadelphia Union) – Wait, he was a forward just a few months ago? Looked the part in central defense and frustrated Marco Di Vaio & Co. all afternoon with timely blocks, tackles and interceptions.
D: Jordan Harvey (Vancouver Whitecaps) – Was influential in denying Houston's advances on their right side and scored a goal to boot.
M: Justin Mapp (Montreal Impact) – Had a great day creating chances, four in all, and set up Di Vaio's late equalizer.
M: Federico Higuaín (Columbus Crew) – Bolstered his early MVP candidacy with a terrific performance, scoring the equalizer and setting up the winner, and coming close to scoring several other times. He is clearly enjoying playing under Gregg Berhalter.
M: Pedro Morales (Vancouver Whitecaps) – Showed off an impressive passing range in the match, and put a terrific ball into the box on Vancouver’s first goal. Looks like he’s getting adjusted to becoming the Whitecaps’ playmaker.
M: Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake) – Might not have found the back of the net, but he was as influential a player as any. He helped RSL dominate the midfield battle and hit a sublime pass to Álvaro Saborío that capped the scoring.
M: Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City) – Was influential in all three of SKC's goals, collecting a goal and two assists after contributing none of either in two games this season.
F: Álvaro Saborío (Real Salt Lake) –Scored two goals, including one via a penalty kick which he drew early to set the tone for the win. His second strike was quality.
Coach: Jeff Cassar (Real Salt Lake) – Showed again why he was the perfect choice to succeed Jason Kreis. RSL showed their quality going forward and their organization in the back.
Bench: Steve Clark (Columbus Crew), Dylan Remick (Seattle Sounders), José Gonçalves (New England Revolution), Vicente Sánchez (Colorado Rapids), Mauro Díaz (FC Dallas), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Perry Kitchen (D.C. United)